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Rob Silvay

The Makeover of a Mansion

The Makeover of a Mansion

  ENLARGE PHOTO: JOSHUA MCHUGH   Downplayed Abbey: The Makeover of a Mansion By ARLENE HIRST July 20, 2016 10:35 a.m. ET “It seemed like something out of a fairy tale,” said New York designer Carl D’Aquino, summing up his clients’ reaction to the Jacobean-revival home they found in the gated enclave of Tuxedo Park, N.Y. The Manhattan couple sought a weekend escape that would capably accommodate their five children, extended family and guests. They discovered it 40 miles north of Gotham, in an 11,000-square-foot manse built in 1910, amid postcard-ready vistas of Tuxedo Lake and the nearby Ramapo mountains. The home is one of 300 mansions of varying architectural styles—from Greek Revival to Italianate—whose original owners unironically referred to them as cottages. Though the homeowners loved the house for its size and the light, it posed a challenge: how to make its palatial rooms, with their interior columns and archways,…

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Buying a Second Home First

Buying a Second Home First

  Some New York City renters are skipping the typical first rung on the urban homeownership ladder: Instead of investing in an apartment, they are buying a country house. Disappointed by what their budget will buy in the city, they are still living the American dream of having a place of their own, if only on the weekends, in the Catskills, at the Jersey Shore or in Connecticut. For less than $350,000 — an amount that barely buys a studio in brownstone Brooklyn these days — they are finding that they can afford homes with three bedrooms or more on several acres of land, sometimes on lakefront property, or with a pool. For those with as much as $2 million to spend, the options range from turn-of-the century mansions to sprawling estates. No one tracks the number of second-home buyers who continue to rent in the city. But real estate…

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